Today I am going to finally be talking about one of the most requested topics from my readers, Warhulks. Warhulks are the hover-tank looking siege weapons that many of us saw in the hype videos before the game went live. It's been almost 3 months, but finally the first of these war machines have shown up on the battlefield, and I was fortunate enough to be there to see them in action.
Warhulks are basically heavy duty siege weapons that are land-based, and in many ways works how the ships do on the water. There are 4 different types of warhulks that vary in size and cannon types. The warhulk I was able to see in action is called a Vileforge, which seems to be viewed as the most powerful of the 4 types and the hardest to make in terms of skill and cost. It has taken almost 3 months for the server to actually see anyone be able to build these machines, and I will try to explain a bit about why this has been the case.
To build a warhulk, you must first purchase the specific crafting skill which costs 15,000 gold, just like the shipbuilding and artillery (cannon) skills. All 3 of those expensive crafting skills can all be bought from advance blacksmiths which can be found in many of the clan cities all over the world. The main holdup was the fact that in the same way a warship has to be built in a shipyard, the warhulks require a special building of their own called a foundry. Up until a day or two ago, nobody was able to find a city that had a foundry as a building option, and get together the 2,000 building modules needed to construct it in the city. The Mercs, who some of you may remember from my warship writeup, recently took over a city that had the ability to build a foundry. They constructed the foundry as quickly as possible and now have a new threat to unleash onto the battlefield. Needless to say, many of their enemies are not happy with them having this capability.
So let's take a look at the layout of the Vileforge. The main deck has 4 main weapons that can be controlled. There are 2 normal cannons that act exactly like those found on warships. The driver actually sits in a cannon chair that points directly ahead, and the other cannon is located in the opposite position facing directly in the rear. The Vileforge also comes equipped with 2 flame cannons which mirror those found on some city towers. The flame cannons are opposite of each other and located on the left and right sides in relation to the driver position. While the front and rear cannons do similar damage to those found on ships, the flame cannons create a large fire which does around 20 damage a tick to anyone or anything caught in the fire that lingers after it shoots. The range on the flame cannons is substantially less than the normal cannons, which means for the warhulk to really shine it needs to get relatively close to the structure. The normal cannons which have decent range also are capable of damaging structures, it just takes a lot longer.
The main deck was a bit larger than I thought it would be as well. At a glance I didn't think it would hold that many people, but once I climbed on board I was a little surprised. There is probably enough room on there for 10 Mahirim if I had to guess, and I'm sure you could fit more at the cost of some breathing room. Much like the warships, you have to climb up a ladder mechanism to get on board. There were 2 ladders on the Vileforge that were located opposite of each other, but despite this, some naked Alfar managed to get on board somehow, making for a very tight and awkward fight for us as the largest race in the game. I am sure smaller races will be able to fit quite a bit more people onto one of these things than we were able to.
The Vileforge seemed to travel at a speed that was comparable to that of a sprinting player, but not as fast as a mount. The main issue seemed to be with the steering and handling capabilities as the driver had a lot of difficulty getting a handle on maneuvering it around. The turning speed in general seemed to be very slow, especially when the Vileforge was at a dead stop. It seemed that once we started moving forward that turning became a bit easier. The other major issue in this area is that even though the machine hovers off the ground a bit, it seems to have an issue with constantly hitting obstacles. It seemed that when people were around the base that it would prevent the machine from moving in certain directions. This can be especially annoying because in many situations this thing is going to be escorted and accompanied by ground support, and being obstructed by your own forces and escorts can lead to a frustrating situation.
This definitely marks a milestone in terms of warfare in Agon in general. As time goes on and the server matures, I am sure more people will start to get foundry access and delve into warhulks adding yet another dynamic to the way sieges and wars will be fought. I will be very interested in seeing the other 3 types in action and see how they differ from the Vileforge in terms of damage and size.
EDIT: Video of this warhulk from this night can be found HERE.
Co-Leader of Inquisition